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Halloween

Detail of ‘Walpurgisnacht’ (Walpurgis Night) by Fritz Roeber.

Walpurgis Night: A Saint, Witches, and Pagan Beliefs in a Springtime Halloween for Scandinavia

Walpurgis Night is the eve of the feast day of Saint Walpurgis, a saint of the Roman Catholic Church. Walpurgis Night falls on April 30th and is a traditional holiday celebrated in northern Europe...
Maeve, the Queen of Connacht and her husband Ailill

The Irish Otherworld Lives on with Queen Maeve, Epona, and Halloween

On Knocknarea Mountain, overlooking the Coolera peninsula in Sligo, there is an ancient passage tomb that dominates the landscape. This passage tomb is unique, not only because of its prominence, but...
Depiction of a vampire.

Older than Dracula: In Search of the English Vampire

By Sam George / The Conversation The story of Count Dracula, as many of us know it, was created by Bram Stoker, an Irishman, in 1897. But most of the action takes place in England, from the moment...
Hermitage Castle bei Carlisle, Südschottland.

Halloween Haunting: The Hideous History of the Hermitage Castle

It is Halloween and what better than a story about a sinister Scottish castle, its ghosts, its legends, and its blood-soaked history? Not referring to Glamis Castle with its notorious secret chamber...
A cloaked witch (Leo Lintang / Fotolia)

The Evolution of The Medieval Witch – And Why She’s Usually a Woman

Flying through the skies on a broomstick, the popular image of a witch is as a predominantly female figure – so much so that the costume has become the go-to Halloween outfit for women and girls...
Black magic ritual

Ex-Devil Worshipper Says: I'm Shocked Christians Celebrate Halloween

Anton LaVey, the founder of the Church of Satan, said: "I am glad that Christian parents let their children worship the devil at least one night out of the year. Welcome to Halloween." We are quick...
A ghostly pale woman holding a pumpkin. Halloween and paranormal phenomena often go hand in hand.

This Scary Season: Halloween and Paranormal Phenomena Make for Spooky Supernatural Events

Every year, amidst the excitement of Halloween-related fun, conversations commonly turn toward scary and unnerving talk of the mysterious world of paranormal and supernatural phenomena. Unlike the...
Drawing of a werewolf in woodland at night. Main illustration for the story "The Werewolf Howls". Internal illustration from the pulp magazine Weird Tales

Why We Should Welcome the Return of ‘Old Stinker’, the English Werewolf

Sam George / The Conversation In 2016, there was something of a folk panic in Yorkshire, northern England, following reported sightings of an eight-foot werewolf with a very human face. The werewolf...
‘Will-o-the-wisp and snake’ by Hermann Hendrich.

In the Spirit of Science: Casting Light on the Enchanting Will-o’-the-Wisp

Will-o’-the-Wisps, also called “ignis fatuus,” Latin for “foolish fire”, are enchanting balls of greenish-blue floating lights observed over swamps and marshes at night. At a distance, they look...
Witches, Vampires and Werewolves

Witches, Vampires and Werewolves – 10 Ghoulish Archaeological Discoveries

Archaeologists are quite familiar with the unearthing of human remains. But occasionally they come across burials that are more bizarre and unsettling – from hybrid frankenstein-type skeletons, to ‘...
An illustration of the ‘Black Dog’ series by Dusty Crosley, a twisted Halloween tale of horror written by Terry Lambert.

Tricking and Treating Has a Long History

Over the past few decades, Halloween celebrations have gained in popularity , not only with children and families, but with all those fascinated with the spooky and scary. As a scholar of myth and...
'The Premature Burial’ by Antoine Wiertz

How Long Have We Believed in Vampires?

Vampires have a contested history. Some claim that the creatures are “as old as the world”. But more recent arguments suggest that our belief in vampires and the undead was born in the 18th century,...
Beltane Fire Festival Celebrations.

The Pagan Wheel of the Year: What Elaborate Rituals and Events Mark this Sacred Cycle?

As more and more people describe themselves as ‘spiritual’ rather than religious, experts expect eco-friendly pagan movements will continue to grow. Already there are perhaps a million pagans in the...
The Top Three Scientific Explanations for Ghost Sightings

The Top Three Scientific Explanations for Ghost Sightings

From ghosts to ghouls, witches to wizards, Halloween is the one time of the year when people come together to celebrate everything supernatural. But beyond the fancy dress and trick or treating,...
How the Ancient World Invoked the Dead to Help the Living

How the Ancient World Invoked the Dead to Help the Living

Though it may seem as if Halloween is a modern con trick designed to get us spending our hard-earned cash on an American celebration, this is not the case. In fact, dressing up, knocking on neighbors...
Symbols of Samhain and Halloween – fire, the dead, lanterns, harvest

Crossing the Veil: The Pre-Christian Origins of Halloween and Samhain

Halloween, or the ancient Samhain, is considered the time of year when the veil between our world and the spirit world is at its thinnest. As darkness falls and families light their pumpkin Jack-o'-...

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